This is a great holiday bread shaped in a wreath, with a small Jesus figurine baked right in. While eating the bread, theperson who gets the figurine has to provide the tamales for the next party, however everyone else tends to help anyway.
* 1/3 cup warm water
* 1 packetof yeast
* 4 cups flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 4 large eggs, beaten
* 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon anise seed
* 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
* A small figurine or toy
* Candied Fruit (about 2 cups of assorted fruit cut into strips such as figs,orange, lemon, mango or cherries)
* 1 egg beaten (egg wash)
* 1/3 cup sugar (topping)
Sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the water and let it sit for 10minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast water, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, cinnamon, anise seed and vanilla extract. Mix until a dough forms. Knead thedough for 5 minutes, then cover and let rise in a warm area until dough is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Punch dough down and shape into a wreath. You can do this by simplyrolling it into a log shape then bending the ends around to form a circle, or you can make three thinner strips and braid them, then put the ends together. The wreath shouldbe about 12-14 inches in diameter. Lift up one area and insert the toy by pushing it up through the bottom. Smooth out any lumps or tears.
Add the dried fruit by laying itacross the top and pressing it in slightly. Let it rise until doubled. Brush top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake for approximatley 45 minutes at 350 degrees.